Oryx and Crake (英語) ハードカバー – 2003/5/5
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Margaret Atwood's classic novel, THE HANDMAID'S TALE, is about the future. Now, in ORYX AND CRAKE, the future has changed. It's much worse. And we're well on the road to it now. The narrator of Margaret Atwood's riveting new novel is Snowman, self-named though not self-created. As the story begins, he's sleeping in a tree, wearing a dirty old bedsheet, mourning the loss of his beautiful and beloved Oryx and his best friend Crake, and slowly starving to death. Earlier, Snowman's life was one of comparative privilege. How did everything fall apart so quickly? Was he himself in any way responsible? Why is he now left alone with his bizarre memories - except for the more-than-perfect, green-eyed Children of Crake, who think of him as a kind of monster? He explores the answers to these questions in the double journey he takes - into his own past, and back to Crake's high-tech bubble dome, where the Paradice Project unfolded and the world came to grief. With breathtaking command of her shocking material and with her customary sharp wit and dark humour, Atwood projects us into a less-than-brave new world, an outlandish yet wholly believable space populated by a cast of characters who will continue to inhabit your dreams long after the last chapter. This is Margaret Atwood at the absolute peak of her powers.
A marvellous, wonderfully written atmospheric story set well into the future, which is grim indeed, and full of horrors following 'the disease'. Jimmy, now known as Snowman, is a survivor, and we follow his life both before and after the catastrophe. Oryx and Crake are shadowy figures from the past, who influence the present, and the whole book has a nightmarish vision of reality. This is a major piece of fiction by a supremely talented author; a novel to haunt your dreams, full of characters and animals who are only too lifelike.商品の説明をすべて表示する
The story centers around Jimmy, also called Snowman, assumed to be the lone survivor of a plague that destroyed humanity. His companions are Crakers: a society of unworldly humanoid experiments designed to eliminate the perceived flaws of normal homo sapiens. The Crakers see Snowman as a relic and link to the "before" times as well as their source of knowledge about their creator, Crake. Jimmy has given the Crakers an origin story, that while false, is something he feels they can mentally grasp. The enigmatic Oryx is the novel's most interesting character primarily because she is so difficult to understand. She is the love interest to both Jimmy (Snowman) and Crake.
Atwood, an avid environmentalist, creates a believable world where climate change accelerates with cataclysmic consequences; changing the nature of agriculture and livestock production, flooding major cities and changing the weather. To compensate, society evolves into a two-tiered structure where scientists and thought-workers segregate themselves into highly secure compounds while the remainder of humanity fend for themselves in decaying, crime-ridden "plebelands". The scientists, working for global corporations, create increasingly bizarre animal and plant hybrids for food in addition to rejuvenation products that increase lifespan and beauty for those who can afford them.
The novel is, overall, an excellent one and well worth the read. The characters are well-developed and fascinating though almost uniformly difficult to like. Many elements of the story are gut-wrenchingly plausible and Atwood masterfully manages to ruin your sleep at night. One leaves the tale of Oryx and Crake with little hope for the future of humanity. Too many genies, it seems, are already out of the bottle.
It's possible to nitpick some of the story's futuristic elements. For example, published in 2003, it's difficult to see how Atwood couldn't see the coming of smart phones and electronic documents. Jimmy, searching for a job, is somehow snail mailing his paper resume to prospective employers. And another nit, as a former marketer, I found nearly all of the product names things that would have been mercilessly ridiculed at any ad meeting. Atwood seems in love with cheesy rhymes and putting "oo" in everything (Anooyoo, Soy Oh-Boy, pigoons).
Still, world-building is hard, and you have to cut the author some slack. After all, we let Suzanne Collins get away with never explaining how and why the Hunger Games world is like that. Whether or not you will like Oryx and Crake really depends on your feelings about apocalyptic fiction. I tend to rate this type of fiction on whether the author made me think and creeped me out. This novel will definitely do both of those things.
Some readers may not like the back and forth structure, but the sections flow seamlessly into one another. The pace is aided by this structure and is relentless in the unfolding of the greater story. Atwood excels in making Jimmy a well realized character with a childhood spent living in corporate science established compounds. These compounds are the gated communities of the elite set apart from the pleeblands where the general population resides. Such social stratification already exists in many ways, so Atwood is merely enhancing the nightmarish possibilities that could emerge from unchecked biological science and corporate influence.
Atwood is a writer with important messages. It's not hard to see the future she assembles for Oryx and Crake as a possible path for humanity. Jimmy is our layman guide through this well researched world of complex scientific ideas. Atwood definitely did her homework on gene-splicing and biodiversity, and in places there is almost too much telling of scientific concepts that seem out of place for Jimmy. However, for the most part Atwood is able to keep true to Jimmy and Snowman's voice and relay the happenings of a highly scientific and commercialized world through his wordsmith lens.
This story is by no means easy to read. Atwood toys with language like the biological scientists toy with creating new species; the two go hand in hand. There is also a shifting tone in the story that is at sometimes grim, other times darkly humorous and then deeply mournful. More than anything, Atwood excels in driving home the disturbing themes of human nature at its worst, grasping for immortality and god-like status, and yet she simultaneous bares the value of language, art, and the imperfection of the human body as the redeeming qualities of our species.